Janet Hamilton

1795-1873 / Scotland

Night Scene At The Fall Of Sebastopol

The toils, the flames, the thunders of the siege
Are quench'd and hush'd. Night shrouds in funeral pall
The fallen fortress, and her shattered mounds-
Each rent and ruined fort, and crumbling wall.
Like leaves in Autumn, drenched in pools of blood,
Lie dead and dying; groans of anguish blend
With smothered shrieks and moans; death-laden sighs
Of long-drawn agony to Heaven ascend.
By the doomed city's suicidal fires
I see their ghastly features upward turned-
See fixed and lustreless the glazing eye,
That late with all the warrior's ardour burned.
Not with my ears-I listen with my heart,
And hear ten thousand wailing voices rise,
And shrieks and sobs, and bursts of wildest woe,
From hearts bereft and lorn, assail the skies.
For them the festal cannon boom in vain,
And joy-bells ring their peal from sea to sea,
And mimic rockets blaze through midnight skies,
And banners flaunt from hall, and tower, and tree.
Be hushed, sad weepers, for your loved ones fell,
As warriors still should fall, in Freedom's cause;
For her they stormed the fort, and scaled the breach,
Victorious died, and earned a world's applause.
The Rubicon is passed. Pause not, go on
To conquest fresh, and newer fields of fame:
Ye brave Allies, may no dark influence mar
The united glories of your arms and name!
And yon gigantic idol of the North,
Whose mighty limbs of mingled iron and clay
Are trembling-tottering, soon will prostrate fall,
A crumbling mass of ruin and decay.
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